Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the combox...

over at Beggars All, dtking said in response to my statement that the Catholic Church does not prohibit personal interpretation of the Bible:

I beg your pardon...John A. O’Brien: The plain fact is that an infallible Bible without an infallible living interpreter is futile. (Italics are his for emphasis) See John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, rev. ed. (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1974), p. 117.

It's clear that he doesn't think God is able to communicate clearly with His own God-breathed words.
Well, thank God for Google Books, I went there and they happened to have this book and so I looked it up in context, and this is what it said;

"If you do not claim to be infallibly certain that your interpretation of the whole Bible is correct, then of what value is it to have an infallible Bible without an infallible interpreter? In either case, your statement crumbles (this is a statement to a Protestant who said that the Bible is the only infallible interpreter he needs). The plain fact is that an infallible Bible without an infallible living interpreter is futile. Infallibility never gets from the printed page to the one place where it is needed: the mind of the reader. The myriad divisions within Protestantism offer ample evidence of the proof of this statement."
Notice that Fr. O'Brian is not even discussing personal interpretation. He is discussing infallibility. Context is everything. Of course the Catholic is allowed personal interpretation of the scriptures. CCC #109:

109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.
Hope this helps.

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